KUCHING: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing chided former federal minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz for saying that Sarawak and Sabah have to surrender their immigration rights to claim their rights as equal partners in the formation of Malaysia.
Tiong when contacted yesterday said Nazri either chose to ignore the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) or was ignorant of the contents when he made the demand as a condition for restoration of Sarawak and Sabah’s status as equal partners in Malaysia.
“It was either arrogance or ignorance for Nazri to suggest the surrender of immigration rights of Sarawak and Sabah.
“Immigration right is one of the pillars of the Malaysia Agreement on which Sarawak and Sabah agreed to come together with Malaya and Singapore to form Malaysia.”
Tiong added that the restoration of the rights and status of Sarawak and Sabah should be based strictly on the MA63 and there cannot be any bargain as removing any point in the agreement would render it invalid.
The Bintulu MP also doubted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s sincerity when he assured that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners in the formation of Malaysia.
Tiong said the prime minister later tried to wriggle out of his assurance by saying he was not convinced the opposition would support the amendments to restore equal partnership to Sarawak and Sabah.
“ Dr Mahathir’s sweet promise of restoring equal status to Sarawak and Sabah only to say the opposition would not give the two-third majority if the amendments were to be tabled in parliament, is a ploy to deny Sarawak and Sabah their rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and putting the blame on the opposition.”
The Bintulu MP agreed with Sabah’s Karanaan MP Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun that the
only way find out the opposition’s stand on the restoration of equal status to Sarawak and Sabah is to table the Bill on MA63 in parliament.
“Dr Mahathir seemed to suggest that tabling the Bill would be an exercise in futility because the opposition would not support and so it would not be Pakatan Harapan’s fault if Sarawak and Sabah could not get back their status enshrined in MA63.”
Tiong, who is also the president of Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), called on Dr Mahathir to prove his sincerity in restoring the equal partnership by tabling the Bill in parliament instead of assuming the opposition would be against it.